How to trim your neckline depends on the reasons your neck is thicker than desired. If you’re overweight, a fat-burning exercise regimen coupled with a nutritional plan that induces a calorie deficit can be beneficial. However, spot reduction is a myth. While you can’t target your neck for slimming, overall weight loss can result in a skinnier neck. Exercises that elongate your neck and counteract faulty posture can create the appearance of a slim neck.
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Cardio to Whittle Down
According to the American Council on Exercise, you’ll need a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day to burn a pound of fat per week. An hour per day of cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, rowing, running, power walking, swimming, stair climbing or treadmill running, can help to burn off the calories. For example, a 132-lb. person can burn about 390 calories cycling for an hour, according to “Fight the Fat: What You Must Know and Do to Lose Weight” by Ben Tan. For an hour-long moderate rowing session, that same person can burn 550 calories. While 30 minutes of exercise per day can help to maintain weight and improve cardiovascular health, you’ll need to go the extra mile and extend the duration of your workouts to shed pounds and lose excess fat from your neckline.
Boost Intensity for Big Burn
If you boost the intensity of your exercise sessions by performing high-intensity spurts of cardio, you can abbreviate the duration of your fat-burning workouts. Researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that short bouts of exercise done at maximum effort for 20 to 30 minutes is as effective for burning fat as moderate aerobic activity of longer duration. For example, perform 10 60-second sprints on a stationary cycle at 90 percent of your maximal heart rate, taking one minute active rest intervals of low-intensity cycling. By engaging in high-intensity interval training, you can boot your metabolism into overdrive, burn fat and lose the flab around your neck. Avoid this method of training if you’re just beginning a fitness regimen or if you have issues with your heart.
Head Up and Elongate
Spending hours in front of a computer takes a toll on your posture. A common problem is rounded shoulders and back, a scrunched head and a forward jut of the neck. By doing neck-stretching exercises, you can lengthen your neck muscles and counteract a posture that creates the appearance of a stubby thick neck. For example, begin by sitting upright in a chair. On an exhalation, gently retract your head, drawing it back in a turtle-like movement. Lower your chin to your chest, stretching the muscles in the back of your neck. Inhale and lift your head, drawing your chin upward to stretch your front neck muscles. Perform three reps of slowly nodding your head up and down. To stretch the muscles on the sides of your neck, slowly turn your head from side to side.
Tone for Less Jiggle
Strengthening exercises for your neck not only tone flabby muscles but also straighten your neck and improve your posture. For example, perform curls for your neck in the same way that you do abdominal curls. Begin by lying supine on the floor and placing a folded towel under your head. Insert your hands, palms facing up, under your buttocks to keep your shoulders down and retracted. Slowly raise your head, drawing your chin toward your chest. Perform as many reps as possible until you reach muscle fatigue. Also do isometric exercises by using your hand as resistance. Place your palm on the back of your head and then gently push your head against your hand for 10 to 20 seconds. To strengthen your neck flexors, place your palm on your forehead and gently push your head forward. Continue pressing your head against your palm for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Fight the Fat: What You Must Know and Do to Lose Weight; Ben Tan
- American Council on Exercise: Trimming Off the Fat
- The Journal of Physiology: Physiological Adaptations to Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training in Health and Disease; Martin J. Gibala et al.
- Rochester Chiropractic Group: Exercises and Stretches for a Healthier Neck
- The Journey: Take the Path to Health and Fitness; Dr. Paul T. Scheatzle
- Stretching and Strengthening Exercises; Hans Spring, Ed.